Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Pains

I’m watching the royal wedding while drinking my morning coffee, enjoying all of the pomp and ceremony and ooohing over Kate’s gorgeous gown and tittering over the Beefeaters (who always make me think of a bottle of gin) and thinking what beautiful children these two are going to have, and I just know I’m going to catch shit from people who think the royal wedding is a silly waste of time. Those people have been all over Twitter and the blogs the past couple weeks, telling everyone the country has more important things to worry about than some superfluous monarch's wedding, and while that may be true I just want to say to you folks: STFU.

I don’t know why we Americans love the British royals but we do. Maybe it’s a chance to live vicariously through our cousins across the pond, maybe it’s the fact that so many British ex-pats live here, maybe it's just our American love of celebrity. But I have no problem setting aside all of the angst and agita and sniping and griping which has consumed us 24/7 and enjoy a real-life fairy tale for a few moments. In fact, I think we need it. We need to turn off the noise and think happy thoughts for a little while.

You know what strikes me watching this spectacle? Seeing hundreds of thousands of people crowd the London streets cheering, waving their Union Jacks, just proud to be British citizens. They’ve got their problems in that country too, but it’s nice to see them turn it all off and enjoy a moment of solidarity. They're jumping in fountains, wearing funny hats, and expressing the pure joy of this historic moment.

Americans had a moment like that not too long ago. It was the inauguration of Barack Obama. Remember that? Remember the millions who descended on Washington D.C. to experience history in person? The millions more who sat glued to their television sets as the nation’s first African American president took the oath of office? Remember how proud we all felt that America had taken this extraordinary step, moved past its painful history and vowed to start fresh?

You know, it’s always been interesting to me that the Glenn Beck types want to bring America back to 9/12 -- the day after we were attacked, when the nation was unified, yes that's true, but it was in fear and sorrow. What does that say about them? If I had to pick a day it would be 1/21 when we were unified by hope and a desire for change.

Since then we’ve been dragged back into the same cesspool of sleazy politics and message manipulation and absurd attacks on the president’s legitimacy not to mention his policies. We've returned to business as usual.

Let’s hope the new royal couple fares better.